GIVING AND LIVING, A NATIONAL CELEBRATION
Normal organ donation efforts are failing. However admirable they are, or however hard we all work, the gap between registered donors and the people who need transplants is growing wider each year. Short of scrapping UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) and the 1984 National Organ Transplantation Act (http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d098:SN02048:@@@L%7CTOM:/bss/d098query.html) which would take years of political bickering and result in little if any progress, I suggest we think big — really BIG! OK, here is where Bob sticks his neck out; following is my dream — my 50,000 foot strategic view. It only lacks the planning and tactical work J.
I propose that America hold a week-long party in the next five years to celebrate organ donation and transplantation with the goal of narrowing or eliminating the gap between organ and tissue donors and those who need transplants. Held in each state with a closing spectacular event in the nation’s capitol, we could honor transplant recipients, donors and their families as special guests. I propose, too that we should initiate a parallel effort to work with UNOS/OPTN (Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network) to effect policy changes.
Will this be expensive? Yes. A lot of work?” Yes again. But who is to say it cannot be done. Think of the benefits. If we have enough tissue and organs, more people could benefit. In the next ten years at least 100,000 more people will die on the transplant waiting list and there is no way of counting those who just die and never get on the list. We can stop the dying! I will volunteer my time and energy to help accomplish this goal. Who wants to sign on with me and what will you do to help?
We need sponsors, organizers and so much more. My dream envisions an event that includes nationally respected speakers, special events, entertainment, celebrities, national telethons, awards, patient and donor stories, special professional conferences (example; transplants for people who can’t afford them, how the media can help promote donation), workshops and, of course, international media coverage. Can a real grass roots effort succeed in America? Let us find out through this Giving and Living celebration. This could be the most massive organ donation effort in history.
I have given the preceding idea some thought, not enough obviously, but some. I have consulted with no one, anywhere. You, my reader friends, are the first to hear of it. Please offer your ideas, your help and your comments. I do not know if my dream can be realized but I know it will not be if I do not try. I know this for sure, it must be a major nationwide effort that includes everyone in every community if we are to increase organ donation to the point where anyone who needs an organ can get one.